Statistics on smoking cessation services in Northern Ireland: 1 April 2014 - 31 March 2015

Date published: 08 October 2015

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety has published statistics relating to smoking cessation services for 2014/15

Smoking Cessation Services in Northern Ireland

The information released provides information on people reporting to smoking cessation services throughout Northern Ireland during the year 2014/15.

Key Findings

Within Northern Ireland during 2014/15:

  • a total of 21,779 people set a quit date through the smoking cessation services. This is a decrease of 5,091 (19%) on the same period last year.
  • of those setting a quit date, 2% were under 18 years of age, 35% were aged 18-34, 22% were aged 35-44, 27% were aged 45-59, and 14% were aged 60 and over
  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) was the most popular therapeutic intervention, with 74% of those who set a quit date having used this therapy
  • at the 4-week follow-up 12,742 reported that they had successfully quit, 59% of those setting a quit date
  • the 4-week success rate was 60% for males and 57% for females. Success at 4 weeks increased with age, from 47% for those aged 11 to 17, to 62% for those aged 60 and over
  • at the 4-week follow-up, 26% reported that they had not successfully quit
  • of these, 58% had reduced their smoking intake and 37% indicated that they intend to rejoin the smoking cessation programme
  • of the 383 young people (aged 11 to 17) who set a quit date, 47% reported to have successfully quit at the 4-week follow-up, 38% indicated that they were still smoking, and 15% were not able to be contacted for the follow-up
  • of the 6,614 adults (aged 18 and above) in the 20% most deprived areas, 56% reported they had successfully quit at the 4-week follow-up
  • of the 1,428 women who were recorded as being pregnant, 57% reported to have successfully quit at the 4-week follow-up, 28% had not quit, and 15% were not able to be contacted

Notes to editors: 

1. This information is supplied to the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and the Public Health Agency by providers of smoking cessation services (e.g. pharmacist, GP, nurse).

2. Definitions relating to the statistics release are detailed below:

  • Brief interventions by General Practitioners (GPs) and other health professionals. These will be provided in the normal course of the professional’s duties rather than comprising a ‘new’ service, and monitoring information about clients in receipt of such interventions is not therefore required centrally. Thus, this information is not captured in this bulletin.
  • Specialist smoking cessation services run by smoking cessation specialist(s) who have received training for this role. The service will be evidence based and offer intensive treatment, usually in the form of one-to-one or group support over the course of 5 to 6 weeks, including the use of Nicotine Replacement Therapy. Such a service may be situated in a major hospital or clinic, although it could be based in a community setting, have outreach clinics or operate on a peripatetic basis.
  • Quit date. It is recognised that in certain cases some time may need to be spent with clients before they are ready to set a quit date. However, only actual quit attempts are counted for monitoring.
  • Success. On the basis that the clinical viewpoint tends to be that a client should not be counted as a ‘failure’ if he/she has smoked in the difficult first days after the quit date, a client is counted as having successfully quit smoking if he/she has not smoked at all since two weeks after the quit date.
  • Four-week and 52-week follow-up. All clients should be followed up at four weeks and those who self-report as having quit at this stage should be followed up again at 52 weeks.

3. Statistics on smoking cessation services in Northern Ireland 2014/15

4. Additional information is available from:

Public Health Information and Research Branch
Information and Analysis Directorate
Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety
Annex 2
Castle Buildings
Belfast BT4 3SQ

Telephone: 028 9052 2607

6. For media enquiries please contact the DHSSPS Information Office on 028 9052 0074, or out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned.

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